Kletke/Durham Genealogy

Hilda Frieda Kletke

Female 1905 - 2002  (96 years)

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  • Name Hilda Frieda Kletke 
    Born 18 Mar 1905  Alva, Woods, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 2 Mar 2002  Alva, Woods, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Alva, Woods, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location 

    • Hilda Kletke was born on the Kletke family farm seven miles northwest of Alva, Oklahoma. The second daughter of Edward and Ida Louisa Kletke to survive infant death, she was thrown into family struggling to survive and a society that would soon look away from it's German citizens.
      She started school at the age of six and walked a mile to and from school every day with her sister Erna. Speaking only German, school was a special challenge since the teacher and all the other students spoke only English. Till she could communicate effectively with the other students, Hilda was set aside in a corner of the room to study on her own. She quickly learned enough English to participate in school and became proficient with the language around age ten.
      After a few years getting used to a strange language, WW1 began brewing and America as a whole began to question all of it's German citizens. The Kletke family was no exception. Hilda remembers that she and her sisters were allowed to go home a half hour earlier than the other students to avoid any after school confrontations.
      In 1917, the family moved to Optimo, New Mexico, to help with Ida Louisa's Tuberculosis. Hilda continued her education there and started High School in 1920. After only three short years, Hilda graduated and started teaching the next year.
      Hilda started teaching in Cimarron, New Mexico, but didn't stay there for long. She was quickly moved to Hope, and finally to Artesia, New Mexico. The students in her classes were primarily of Spanish/Mexican descent and spoke very little English. Faced with this new challenge, Hilda learned to speak Spanish and taught these students in their own tongue. She successfully helped these students out of the same situation she had been in 20 years earlier.
      Being a teacher, Hilda understood the value of an education and continued hers during the summers. She attended Oklahoma Northwestern University in Alva, Oklahoma; Columbia University in New York; and Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Transferring credits between colleges became a hassle since not all of the universities acknowledged each others accreditation; but finally, in 1940, she was awarded her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Highlands University. She taught for the next ten years in Artesia, New Mexico, before the next chapter of her life began.
      While spending a summer in Alva, Hilda threw a party and by chance met Julius Kirmse. Julius's wife had died 4 to 5 years earlier and had left him with 3 small children. They soon fell in love and were married in the fall of 1951. She quit her teaching position in New Mexico and at the age of 46, found herself mother of 3 children: Dale, 14; Donna, 8; and Judy, 6.
      For the next 18 years, the Kirmses lived on their farm south of Alva and made a good life for themselves. Julius managed a small ranch with cows, chickens, hogs, and bees; and also worked a number wheat fields. Hilda filled her time as a housewife, mother, and church volunteer.
      In 1969, with the children gone, Hilda and Juluis moved to town and bought a new home on the west side of Alva where they currently live. Even though the kids are grown and very successful, neither Hilda or Julius are ready to retire. Through the years they have continued to work hard and even at the ages of 91, Julius works the farm and Hilda works in the house. I even remember my brother Bruce and sister Cathy spending a number of summers in Alva with Hilda and Julius helping out on the farm and learning as much as possible.
      Hilda and Julius are both longtime members of Zion Lutheran Church in Alva and have served that congregation in many capacities. Hilda is a member of the LWML (Lutheran Women's Missionary League) and the Mary & Martha League.
      In her 26 years as a teacher, Hilda was recognized numerous times and earned several awards. She is also a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority and the Delta Zeta Sorority.

      Daniel B. Kletke; September, 1996

      Prior to my birth, my mother and father received a wicker bassinet. It was handmade - by her - for me. Through the years it has been used repeatedly by family members. Kelly Virginia used it last.

      In my Baby Book are cards recognizing my Birthdays and a Christmas card and notes indicating presents. She sent them.

      She was a school teacher. During summer recess she would come to the farm and tell stories. We sat on a blanket under the elm trees north of the house and she read a book about the Indians of New Mexico.

      I remember heated religious discussions between her and my Dad that lasted late into the night. On one occasion, it took pastor Hoyer to settle the dispute.

      Dad took my brother and me on a hunting trip to Artesia, New Mexico. She was with us when Dad shot a deer. We stayed at her house. We had lots of fun.

      Shortly after Mother died she spent several weeks or more at our house. She helped my Dad look after us. She was supportive and kind.

      She gave up her teaching career, married, and took on the task of raising a family. She was very protective of her husband and grew frantic when he didn't arrive home for dinner on time. Long after he died, she would refer to him as though he were still nearby.

      When I married, she immediately and enthusiastically embraced my new wife and they became good friends. A friendship that endured. This became a bridge between my wife and my extended family. I am most grateful to her for that act of kindness.

      My two oldest children spent 10 - 12 summers of there early lives at Alva with her. She taught them about bees and the collecting and processing of honey. They collected eggs, fed pigs, chased after cows, helped with the harvest and field work and cleaned - and cleaned. They learned about knitting and crocheting and embroidery and, and more. They listened to stories about their relatives. She gave driving lessons.

      She was a member of the Alva Garden Club and served as president. She volunteered her time at church functions was a member of the Mary Martha quilting club, counted the collection plate money, helped with church dinners and much more. She gave me her Bible. Her Father had given it to her.

      When I and my family were in Alva, she insisted that we visit her and stay at her house. She wanted to know the details, the bits and pieces of our family lives. Generalities would not do. She visited us in Denver.

      As I go forward, each person that I meet, in some way, touches my life and in those meetings they have become the "Rhythm of the Rhyme". I believe that I am composed of each one of those meetings. She touched me and I am the better for it.

      Several days ago I attended her funeral. She now lives in Heaven.

      She was and will always be My Aunt Hilda.

      Dale Kletke
      March 5, 2002
    Person ID I0264  Kletke-Durham
    Last Modified 21 Jul 2009 

    Father Edward Gustav Kletke,   b. 26 Oct 1873, Alexen, East Prussia, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Sep 1947, Alva, Woods, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years) 
    Mother Ida Louisa Augustin,   b. 18 Jan 1880,   d. 31 Oct 1934, Alva, Woods, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years) 
    Married 29 May 1898  Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F017  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Julius Kirmse,   b. 20 Jan 1905, Goodwin, Oklahoma Territory Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Dec 1998, Alva, Woods, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years) 
    Married 19 Aug 1951  Alva, Woods, Oklahoma Zion Lutheran Church Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F113  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Julius & Hilda (Kletke) Kirmse
    Julius & Hilda (Kletke) Kirmse
    Harold Kletke Family
    Harold Kletke Family
    Back Row: Elisha Randall, Louis Engelken, Bob Tecklenburg, Martha Tecklenburg, Theresa Kletke
    Front Row: Erna Randall, Ella Engelken, Hilda Kletke,
    Edward Kletke, Harold Kletke
    Kletke Family
    Kletke Family
    Martha Tecklenburg, Harold Kletke, Ella Engelken,
    Hilda Kirmse & Erna Randall
    Hilda Kletke Baptismal Certificate
    Hilda Kletke Baptismal Certificate
    Hilda Kletke
    Hilda Kletke
    Hilda Kletke Confirmation Certificate
    Hilda Kletke Confirmation Certificate
    Julius & Hilda (Kletke) Kirmse
    Julius & Hilda (Kletke) Kirmse
    Kletke Cousins
    Kletke Cousins
    Picture taken at the Kletke farm a few days after Theresa (Stevens) Kletke died on April 2, 1948
    Back Row - Ralph, Charles, Minnie Lou
    Center Row - Dale, John, Jason, Aunt Hilda, Joyce, Robert, Edward
    Front Row - Merlin, Ernest, Walter

    #16 1947 January 09 - Alva, Oklahoma
    #16 1947 January 09 - Alva, Oklahoma
    Letter from Edward Kletke to Emma (Koerner) Augustin.
    #21 1947 February 21  - Alva, Oklahoma
    #21 1947 February 21 - Alva, Oklahoma
    Letter from Edward Kletke to Hilda Kletke informing her of Emma (Koerner) Augustin's passing.

    Hildagard (Kletke) Kirmse
    Hildagard (Kletke) Kirmse
    Headstone for Hildagard (Kletke) Kirmse